The New York Subliners won their first-ever Call of Duty League championship after dominating the Toronto Ultra with a clean sweep.
Just a day after New York were swept at the hands of Toronto in the winner’s finals, it was a complete 180 for the Subliners, who were simply dominant in every sense of the word. The team who won the first and last majors of the regular season staked their claim as the best team in the world with one of the most dominant CoD Champs performances in the history of the esport.
While no extra motivation is ever needed in championship matchups, there was a bit of extra fuel added to the fire for these two squads just after their winner’s finals matchup on Saturday. Scrap, the CDL’s rookie of the year in 2023, had some choice words to say in a fiery on-stage interview after their 3-0 victory over New York.
“Were you going to show up or what? What’s going on here?” he said on-stage during the postgame. “We knew what they were going to come out and do. We know how they play. Shutdown HyDra, team’s pretty ass.”
New York’s Kismet took that personally and said as much on Saturday night.
“I’m going to smoke him. It’s just disrespectful,” Kismet told Zack Patraw of Esports Illustrated. “I like the idea of barking and having your own thing but singling people out is the worst thing you can do. I’m going to make them pay for it.”
And he did exactly that. Kismet and his teammates came out roaring in the early goings on Hydro Hardpoint, showing signs that the Ultra were outmatched from the jump. They got out to a massive lead early in the first set of rotations and never looked back, with the scoreboard and kill feed lighting up yellow for the entirety of the map. The lowest K/D on the map for any member of the Subliners was a 1.29, and Kismet backed up his words with an absurd 25-10 performance to lead the way.
That map set the tone for the rest of the series, and Toronto never found a way to recover. New York continued the high level of play as the series progressed to its first Search and Destroy with Hotel set to host. It was another blowout of a map, with the Subliners wasting no time to notch a second map under the belt with a 6-1 victory. Skyz led the lobby in kills and damage, dropping a 10-2 statline while dealing over 300 damage more than the next highest amount.
“I knew we were going to win,” said the newly minted world champion in an on-stage interview. “After Scrap said that when we lost, I was waiting for him to show up in the finals. I don’t know where the fuck he went.”
The series would stay on Hotel, but this time as Control, where the Ultra looked to try and stabilize things before they got too out of hand. But even in their best game mode, New York found a way to be dominant. It was a swift 3-0 to take a commanding 3-0 lead in the series, and it was all but over after that.
Through the first three maps and modes of the series, the Ultra were one hundred point clubbed, won a lone round of search, and were swept in their best game mode, Control, as New York looked to cruise to a world championship.
It appeared Toronto had finally awoken from its ill-timed slumber on championship Sunday, but it was too little too late. They made the Hotel Hardpoint a battle, holding a 225-209 lead heading into P4. New York pushed the lead up to 244-225 before Toronto managed to break in, but they wouldn’t be there for long before the onslaught of Subliners came rushing in. New York pushed the score up to 249-244 before the Hardpoint shifted to P5, where the Subliners had won the rotation to grab the last tick needed.
In what would prove to be the last map of the 2023 CDL season, Toronto once again made it scrappy, this time on Embassy Search and Destroy. But once again, it was too little, too late. Up 5-4, New York had managed to bring it into a two-vs-one advantage with Scrap the last alive for the Ultra. The superstar rookie did what he could, but there was Kismet to deal with, who poetically earned the last kill for all the marbles.
Kismet finished with a ridiculous 1.52 K/D in the series, dealing over 10,000 damage in the five-game sweep. He had his opportunity to pile onto Scrap and Toronto but decided to play the role of the diplomat.
“I’m gonna keep it cool. There was an interview, he talked his talk,” the 2023 CDL Finals MVP said on-stage in the post-game interview. “I let the gameplay speak, and it was a flawless sweep.”
Flawless, indeed. All four members of the Subliners were positive, with HyDra and Skyz bringing the firepower alongside Kismet. The two posted 1.29 and 1.51 K/Ds in the series, respectively. Priestahh had himself a nice series, as well, putting up a 1.02 K/D. With the win, all four members of New York earned their first world championships as professionals.
HyDra, who was named MVP of the season earlier in the weekend, has now cemented his spot as the best player in the world and becomes the first European to win a Call of Duty world championship in the history of CoD esports.
“No one could have shut me down today,” the young superstar joked on stage. “Yeah, I just feel amazing right now.”
The 5-0 victory places New York as only the second team to win the grand finals at CoD Champs with a sweep, joining 2014 champions CompLexity in the history books. They also become just the third team to win CoD champs from the loser’s bracket, joining Fariko Impact and OpTic Gaming, who won in 2013 and 2017, respectively.
On the side of Toronto, this loss is heartbreaking. Just two years after losing to Atlanta FaZe in the Grand Finals during the Cold War season, they once again make it to the finals only to run into a team that looks like one of the best squads in recent memory. Insight and CleanX were both on the 2021 team that lost to FaZe, so one can assume this loss has to be especially painful for the young duo.